Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

To Halloween or Not to Halloween…That is the Question

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A lot of people know little about the origins of Halloween. Some people know some about it. Many think they know more than they actually do. As a Christian, this always becomes a bit of a tricky topic. There are those who are violently against any type of participation in the holiday, calling it satanic worship and evil. There are also Christians who do participate, but on varying levels. I recently heard a sermon in which people were most certainly advised against participation, even with a more “Christianized” version of the holiday such as a harvest festival. I’m not here to say that this wonderful pastor is wrong, nor to try and convince anyone else about what they should do. I think this one is about personal conviction. I am going to share my perspective after having studied the history thoroughly and prayed about it, just so that you have all the facts to make your own decision.

Before I continue, I want to be clear that I look down on neither those who do Halloween or those who do not. In other words, I respect both viewpoints and truly believe you must follow whatever your personal conviction is on the matter. In fact, I only get upset and frustrated when believers judge and look down on me for my stance on it (even though it is likely that I know more about the origins and background of the topic). I write this more as a way to dispel myths and false teaching on it so that Christians can be more respectful and understanding of the different views. So don’t be offended or get angry. This is just my personal opinion based on the information I have gathered. We don’t have to agree on everything to be sisters and brothers in the Lord, amen?

So….Halloween.

History

Halloween started in as at least three different events that eventually merged together. In the mid-second century, the Catholic church looked to unify and dedicate a day to remember and appreciate the Christian martyrs who had died sharing the gospel. The “Feast of All Martyrs” from the fourth century was the earliest known example. All Saints Day was created in 610 by Pope Boniface IV and was moved to November 1st in 835.

Now there was something else going on at this time that coincides with the formation of All Saints Day. This was an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The purpose of this day was to celebrate the end of the harvest (a time of gratitude), as well as to prepare for a dark winter season (a time of uncertainty and fear). You see, winter for these people was a time of darkness and often death. Death of the crops, harsh weather, frozen and starving livestock and sometimes the death of people. It was hard conditions.

These Celtic pagans did not know about or worship the God of the Bible, to be sure. Nor did they believe in or know about Satan. The festival was not about Satan worship. What they did believe is that the dark winter was a time when evil spirits destroyed the land and tried to destroy them. They would make bonfires to frighten away evil spirits and they would wear masks and costumes (usually from animal skin) to mimic and mock the spirits. Now the Druid priests believed they had power to communicate with the dead and they did practice this. There’s no doubt these pagans were practicing evil and false religion. That’s where the Catholic missionaries came in.

Missionaries came into Celtic lands and began to try and change the Celts practices. They declared that Samhain was evil and they instead encouraged them to celebrate two holidays that would be practiced instead of Samhain. The first was All Souls Day (or All Hallows), which was held on Nov 2nd in which homage was paid to the souls of people who had died. The second holiday, but first in order, was All Saints Day on November 1st. Since it was the day before All Hallows Day it was also called All Hallows Eve. This is where Halloween gets it’s name…more from the Catholic holiday that was encouraged to combat Samhain than from the festival itself. Regardless, some Celts joined up, others didn’t, and many of the traditions were merged together.

Today what is celebrated as Halloween is nothing at all like the Samhain Festival, nor like All Saints Day and All Souls Day practiced by the Catholics. Irish immigrants brought some of the traditions to America and they have continued to change throughout the years, but even the very root of the holiday has been altered. Today, for most people, the holiday is nothing more than a time for families to have fun, dress up, interact with the community and eat candy. In fact, the tradition of trick-or-treating is much more like the innocent, child’s holiday called Beggar’s Day, in which the children would dress up and go from home to home in their village getting treats from neighbors. It was and continues to be a fun community tradition. A study of the history shows that there was nothing fun or light-hearted about Samhain. The truth was, it was a time of terror and death. They were afraid for their lives. It was nothing like the Halloween of today.

My family enjoys participating in Halloween and I do so without conviction that we are displeasing the Lord. We know Who we serve and Who we worship. We aren’t practicing evil rituals. What’s evil about going from house to house and getting treats, or participating at a harvest festival? What’s evil about dressing up? These things are not evil in and of themselves. They are harmless diversions that actually, historically, were more tied to Beggars Day that would occur in November/fall. Now, we do not do costumes that are frightening or dark or evil in our family. That’s our conviction. We also tend to stay away from any situation where it seems they may be glorifying darkness at all. Are there still people who practice false and evil religion today who enjoy reliving the ancient Celtic days of Samhain? I’m sure there are…but that has nothing to do with us. October 31st is a day that the Lord has made, and we’re not handing that day over to Satan and saying he gets to have it. We praise the Lord and use it as a day for fun, family and community involvement.

Now…..what about Christianizing pagan holidays?

Well, I’ve not only studied the history of Halloween but also of Easter and Christmas. If you think that there are no pagan roots in these other two holidays, you’ll be shocked to discover that there are indeed. Easter and Christmas have been Christianized to be days of celebration of the Lord’s birth and His death and resurrection. I love that! I love that we have taken what pagans meant for evil and turned it to good. We have claimed the days back for Jesus and celebrate Him and all that He has done.

It is, in my opinion, a double-standard to say that celebrating Easter and Christmas are acceptable, but participating in Halloween makes you a bad Christian. I don’t mind in the least that many of my friends feel convicted not to do Halloween. I do find it a bit short-sighted for people to try and force their convictions on me about Halloween and then to turn around and practice Easter and Christmas. Some say that to do anything on Halloween is the same as practicing this holiday. Then, in the same manner, to do anything on Christmas or Easter is the same as practicing the evil pagan roots from those holiday origins…. a Christmas tree being a prime example.

I want to say one last thing. The Word of God tells us not to eat food that was sacrificed to idols. The food itself wasn’t what was bad….it was what was done with it. Halloween is not evil if we don’t use it for evil.

At the end of the day, I have no problem with people choosing not to do Halloween. Paul shared in Romans that people feel different convictions (in this case about Sabbaths and dietary restrictions) and that we should not judge or look down on one another. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 Rather, let each person follow the conviction of their heart and do so unto the Lord. I am not trying to change the conviction that you have, but rather want to shed some light on the full history of the holiday and to share why my family has no problem participating in modern day festivities. No matter where we stand on this issue, may the Lord be praised on October 31st and on every day of the year, and may we love one another in a spirit of unity and not in judgment! God bless!

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Thanking You Readers with a Giveaway – Want a Brand New Rice Cooker?

500 Facebook Like Celebration Giveaway!!!

We did it! We reached over 500 Facebook Likes and now it’s time to have some fun and giveaway some great prizes. This is the perfect time, just as the holiday season starts to roll in. Below you will see the list of prizes being donated by some wonderful people who own Etsy shops. Please visit their shops and look around. Let them know what you like and that we sent you over. This giveaway will have a Grand Winner and 2 Additional Winners. Follow all the instructions to get as many entry points as possible! The giveaway is live now and will run until November 11th.

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GRAND PRIZE WILL RECEIVE…

 thBlack and Decker Rice Cooker!!!!

Yes! This rice cooker will make preparing rice so easy and care-free. It has received excellent reviews and is very easy to use. The Grand Prize winner will be delivered the rice cooker directly from the store.

Winner #2 Will Receive….

Signed Copy of “Keeper of His Home” by Chelsea McCafferty

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And….

Rustic John 3:16 Nails Ornament by MegandMosClubhouse

I absolutely love this ornament. It is rustic and charming, and it is a great way to keep Christ’s sacrifice at the forefront of our holiday celebrations. Check out their other lovely products HERE.

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Winner #3 Will Receive….

Proverbs 31 Fearless Ladies T-Shirt by Set Free Apparel

We are so inspired by the Proverbs 31 woman and this shirt is a great way to own who we are in Jesus Christ. A fearless, Proverbs 31 woman who is proud to follow the Lord! I love all of the t-shirts at this shop. There are shirts for men and women with great messages. Check out the shop HERE.

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And…

Elegant Nativity Scene Ornament by Jims Wood Studio

This ornament, as well as the many other wonderful products at this shop, adds warmth, elegance and a Jesus-centered theme to your Christmas tree. Love the artistry. Visit the shop HERE to see more beautiful ornaments.

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Winner #4 Will Receive…

Cinnamon Sticks Candle by Still Water Candles

I LOVE CANDLES! Janelle from Still Water Candles has some really beautiful candles and scents available at her shop. I just fell in love with the cinnamon sticks candle below. It is warm, very Christmassy and would look great as a part of a centerpiece. Check out her store HERE.

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And…

“Messiah” Heart Ornament by Petticoat Junkin

I fell in love with all of the products at Petticoat Junkin. I especially love these heart ornaments with such beautiful and inspirational words. “Messiah” has come! Therefore let’s make sure our Christmas tree this year boasts of His birth. Visit the shop HERE to see more.

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Choosing Peace Over Conflict in Marriage

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Floyd Brown via photopin cc

Every couple fights! It’s normal. It’s healthy. It’s just the way it is! Right?

There are probably very few couples out there who can honestly say that they never have a fight or argument. Hopefully there are many, many homes in which simple disagreements never escalate to the point of being classified as an argument and then further on to a fight. Yet for many homes, even Christian homes, escalations are indeed more common than one might think. In many homes they happen as frequently as taking out the trash (and sometimes triggered by a wife nagging her husband to take out the trash for that matter). Some couples are finding themselves in conflict monthly, weekly and even daily. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there is nothing “normal” or acceptable about a Christian couple fighting this much.

Here are three common reasons that a Christian couple may find themselves in conflict so often:

  1. External Stresses. Couples may find that when they are going through times of intense stress or pressure, fights occur more regularly. Stress often causes people to lash out or to assign blame. We oftentimes inexplicably take out our stress on those who are closest to us because we somehow feel more free or safe to do so. We assume they will continue to love us, despite our snide comments and rude remarks. We feel the need to assign blame, which just leads us down a terrible path altogether (ie Adam and Eve). In these times we are often afraid, and that fears leads us to unleashing our emotional storms on those we love. Not good. So what to do we do?
  2. Unrepented Sin. When we sin, we place a wedge of separation when us and the Lord. We quench the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we live in unrepented sin, our marriages and homes suffer. Sin is destruction and that’s all it knows how to be. When we allow it in the door, pain and suffering will follow. Whatever the sin may be, couples will find that conviction, shame and downright rebellion will cause an atmosphere of rottenness to develop in a home. Have you ever thrown something rotten in the trash and not noticed the smell was getting bad until you leave the house and come back? You walk in the door and the smell hits you like a plank between the eyes. Gross! No one likes a smelly house, and a house where sin is allowed to settle in will fester and stink and cause all kinds of problems. Whether it be something that is an outward sin, such as stealing, pornography or adultery, or one that is more inward, like pride, covetousness and hateful thoughts, sin issues in the home can cause division, disintegration of the family and lots and lots of really bad fights. So what do we do?
  3. Deeper Issues of the Heart. Sometimes couples fight because there are much deeper issues and wounds than can be seen on the surface. Some couples simply do not have feelings of love for one another. Either the love has faded or it was never really there at all. Some have deep wounds that have altered them, such as the loss of a child or a traumatic experience. Other couples experience conflict because of going through life changes and challenges. Infertility. Loss of a job. A move to a new place. Chronic illness. There are deep issues that can cause a lot of pain, confusion and oftentimes marital conflict. When our hearts are hurting, the words of our mouths can be more based on an emotional outcry than on logic. We say things we don’t mean. We sometimes try to inflict pain so that we aren’t hurting alone. So sad. So what do we do?

There is one answer to these common problems. There is one thing we can do to restore calm and unity to the family unit. It seems simple, but it really is profound and perfectly reasonable. What we do is….CHOOSE PEACE. We choose peace over conflict. We always have a choice about whether or not to be a part of conflict. We ALWAYS have a choice. We can choose peace over conflict and bring serenity back into our homes, by letting go of our own needs to lash out, be right, make a point, assign blame and share our hurt. We can choose peace instead and quiet instead of letting our tongues go unbridled. We can choose peace instead of taking out my hurt on my husband or daughter.

“For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11

Peace isn’t something that just happens to lucky people. Peace is a choice. Unity is a choice. Even love is a choice. The thing is, it’s a choice that sometimes requires sacrifice and hard work. We have to learn to control our tongues and our hearts. We learn to be wise about when to be quiet. We learn that it’s okay not to get the final word and that we don’t have to be right all the time. We learn to weigh out what is most important…..proving my point or peace? Being right or peace? Getting my way or peace? Indulging in sin or peace? God says we should choose peace. It’s that simple.

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19

One last point I need to make here. If sin in your life is bringing you conflict, know that you cannot possibly choose peace if you don’t repent and get rid of that sin. Sin and peace cannot live in harmony. There is no such union in Christianity. Sin is the enemy of peace. If you are living in sin, repent of your sin and get rid of it. Then you can choose peace, and what a blessing that will be to your home, marriage and kiddos.

“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18

“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.” Proverbs 12:20

CHOOSE PEACE!

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I Want Her to Walk in Purity

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“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Purity. The word used here in 1 Timothy is the Greek word “hagneia” that comes from the root word “hagnos.” It is translated “pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate and clean.” As the mother of a daughter, purity is something that I have on my mind often. I so long for my daughter to walk in purity throughout her life.

This scripture in 1 Timothy is one that I pray over my daughter. I pray that she sets a beautiful example of Christ’s power and glory in her life through her lovely speech, God-pleasing conduct, deep love, unwavering faith and purity. Purity doesn’t always mean sexual purity, but rather is a way of life in which one chooses not to mingle with the sin of the world, but rather to serve the Lord with a whole, uncompromising heart. Purity is a heart that’s sold out for God manifesting itself throughout the entire body…in speech, modesty, humility, chastity and grace.

While purity isn’t solely based on chastity, this is one of the most common and devastating ways in which young ladies surrender their purity. God says that the sanctification of a single person is their sexual purity.

 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

I pray for my daughter’s purity, even now while she’s young. I pray that she will be able to hold fast to her purity and that my husband and I will be able to present her as a pure bride on her wedding day. That thought overjoys me and also motivates me in the decisions I make for her now. You see, striving to protect and guide our children sometimes requires sacrifice. We make choices that other people mock or belittle. We may say no to “dating” as the world sees it and yes only to modest apparel. Does that mean our kids have to cover themselves from head to toe? No, not necessarily. However, allowing our kids to wear revealing clothing is a way in which we send them out into the world with a target on their backs. Do we want our children to be like the world or like the Lord? That’s what we have to decide.

I’ve made that decision. I will train my daughter up to know that the Lord’s calling on her life is to abstain from sexual immorality. I will teach her the beauty of purity and God’s course for her life. I will not allow her to wear mini-skirts and tiny shorts or low-cut tops. I will educate her at home, where she will not be thrust into the hands of a secular and liberal education system that will issue great lies and confusion about sexuality, family life and so forth. Dating will look much different in our home than in others. We will treat her as a beautiful young lady and remind her all of the time who she is in Christ.

Now I know fine well that I can do all of these things only to find later in life that my daughter still stumble. I pray this isn’t the case, but I know it’s possible. I know that ultimately our children have to make their own decision to follow God. Still, I will labor and fight for my daughter’s purity. I will pray for her, teach her, exhort her and support her. I will be honest with her and show her the truth. I will do everything in my power to protect her purity, both for herself and for her future husband. She is worth that and we are privileged and honored to be the ones to raise her in the ways of the Lord.

Purity is important. For our kids, it’s crucial. It’s where so many families lose. It’s where so many are suffering. Teen pregnancies, abortions, drugs, sexual confusion, STDs….so much sin and so many devastating consequences. Our children need our protection and guidance.

Listen, my daughter won’t be missing anything by not attending the prom or by not wearing the same revealing clothing that some her friends do. She’s not missing anything by being removed from situations of bullying, peer pressure and the influences of worldly friends. You may want your child to be like the other kids. You may not want them to feel different, but I’m looking at a generation of kids in which most of them are having sex before they turn 18. I’m hearing the way these kids are speaking and behaving and I say, “Let our kids be different!”

Jesus didn’t make us new creations so that we could return to looking just like the world. He said not to be conformed to the world. He told us to be set apart. He wants us to be a shining light in a dark place. If you want your children to be like everyone else, no doubt they will be. They won’t shine for Jesus, but rather the world’s darkness will quench and put out their light. They won’t stand for purity and holiness, but rather blend right in with the others, pressing and sometimes shattering every boundary of purity they come across. This grieves the heart of the Father, and it grieves our hearts as parents.

By the time our kids get to this point, there’s little we can do but encourage them and pray. That’s why it’s so important that we start early. It’s crucial that we teach, guide and protect purity from an early age, so that it is a way of life. Praying for the purity of our young ones and praying that they will grow to be an example of God’s glory and goodness, walking in beautiful purity.

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Keeping Contentment in Times of Want

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King David’s via photopin cc

How can we be content when our circumstances are less than ideal? It is something that Christians around the world must learn to deal with, in varying degrees and settings. People are struggling. People are suffering. Some are ill. Some are dealing with the pains of divorce, abandonment and poverty. There are so many reasons to complain. There are so many opportunities to be discontent. In this fallen world, we face many trials and tribulations, and yet we are called to keep contentment in our hearts and on our tongues.

So can we keep contentment in times of want? The problem is in the question. You see, God’s people should never be in a time of “want”. That may sound like a strange statement, but allow me to explain. Before I do, I want to make it clear that I take no part in the health, wealth and prosperity movement or doctrine. I do not believe God promises us wealth or health on earth. The blood of fallen martyrs can attest to the fact that sometimes God’s people are allowed and even called to suffer. We are not exempt from pain, illness or persecution as believers. So I reject any such claims made by false teachers who tell their people what their ears long to hear. Now to the problem with the word “want”. One of the promises we have in God’s Word is that He tells us that those who love and fear the Lord God of the Bible shall never “want”. Take a look at the following verse:

O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” Psalm 34:9-10

The Hebrew word for “want” in this verse is “machcowr” which means, “a need, a thing needed, poverty or lack.” In Psalm 34 we see that the Lord promises that those who fear (honor, respect, reverence, love) Him will never experience this type of want. They shall not be lacking in those things that they truly need. They shall be cared for in one way or another by the Lord. The scripture goes on to explain that young lions do suffer and lack, but those that seek the Lord will not lack in any good thing. The Lord will give them exactly what they need when they need it. 

What about Christians in poverty? Well, how is poverty defined? Each state in the USA has it’s own monetary guideline for their people’s poverty level. Yet compare any of those values with the poverty levels in the third world countries and we see that those we consider “poor” here would be considered quite wealthy elsewhere. A family may live in a small but comfortable dwelling, own a car, have enough food on the table, etc. and still be considered in poverty here, and yet there are people living in complete squalor around the world. They have make-shift homes with dirt floors. They have no access to clean water and no proper sanitation systems. They starve. Who is in poverty?

We need to be very careful when we complain about our lack or want. God said His children would not experience true poverty. Does that mean we’ll have everything we want? No. Will we all experience wealth and abundance materially on earth? No. We are not promised these things. We are promised that God will provide what we need. That’s God’s promise. Our side of that is to put on and keep contentment. Our calling is to be grateful, setting aside selfishness and discontent.

On the other hand, there are Christians who are suffering, who have little on their plates even this night, and whom seem to be in great want. What about those brothers and sisters around the world who are struggling with their needs? We need to remember the inspired words of Paul. He knew what suffering was about, and yet he kept contentment in his heart and mind.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phil. 4:11-13

Paul knew that God would provide what He needed. He trusted the Lord. Sometimes God provided through the love and support of the saints. There’s nothing wrong with that. We see brothers and sisters in the Lord helping each other throughout scripture. God provides in amazing ways and He ALWAYS provides what we need when we need it. We need to have the heart of Paul. We need to stop saying we are in “want” of this or that. We are in want of NOTHING if we are in Christ Jesus, because He has and is giving us EVERYTHING that we need to do what He has called us to do.

If you are suffering tonight, take comfort in God’s promises. His character is unchanging and He keeps His Word. Trust in Him. He will provide what you need. Obey His Word and follow the leading of the Spirit. Work hard, be diligent and wise, and leave the rest in His capable hands. God bless!

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Three Ways to Combat Division in Marriage

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Candida.Performa via photopin cc

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

When God said that nothing should separate a husband and wife, He did it for a reason. He knew that the world would present ample devices for creating a wedge between a man and his wife and that it was important to be aware. These devices come in many forms. Sometimes it is people from the outside, the girl making eyes at your husband at the workplace or your best friend who tries to encourage you to talk bad about your husband behind his back. Maybe it’s a family member who is always stirring up trouble and planting seeds of contention in your marriage. The devices could be idols in your life such as an over-indulgence or an unhealthy focus on television, sports, hobbies (especially those hobbies that require money), or even ministry. Division can come from our own selfishness or self-focus. There are many tools that the world, and the enemy of our souls, uses to try and divide a husband and wife. The following are just three of the ways you can combat division in marriage and keep your home in peace and unity:

1. Communicate Freely

Whether it’s Christian-based counseling or secular counsel, most people agree that communication is key in marriage. The fact is, when it comes to combating division, the most successful weapon is communication. Now, this tends to come easier to us than to the men. We ladies are usually talkers. We are more than happy to discuss our day, our feelings, our dreams and our concerns. We could discuss them all day! Men, on the other hand, usually don’t need that kind of sharing on a daily basis. Still, it is so important that husband and wife communicate freely in order to stay united. What does that look like practically speaking? I don’t keep secrets from my husband and he doesn’t keep them from me. We do not withhold information from each other. If you want to share something with me, know that I won’t tell anyone else about what you share, except for my husband. We communicate freely about our concerns, our feelings, our challenges, our sin, our goals, our fears, etc. We communicate about those things that could bring division into our home so that we can deal with them. Most importantly, we communicate about the Word of God and what the Lord is doing in our hearts. We talk about His plans for us as a family. We pray together. We encourage each other as we talk about the ways of God. This communication shines a bright light that expels darkness and division from the home.

2. Make Tough Choices

Keeping a family united sometimes means making hard choices. Making those choices could cause hurt in other relationships, but it’s important to remember that the marriage and family relationships are top priority. If someone or something is coming between you and your husband, it must be dealt with. Sometimes it must be removed from the home. For example, if you and your husband argue often about a certain television show, then perhaps the best choice is to stop watching it altogether. That’s an easy one, of course. What if there is a certain friend who always seems to try to stir you up to anger against your husband? Once you have searched out your own behavior for issues where you may have encouraged the intrusion, and confessed, then it may be necessary to share with this friend, in love and gentleness, that this is becoming a problem and must stop. If the friend does not stop, it may be necessary at that point to stop that relationship. Sound extreme? What if it’s an extended family member? Same plan? You know, many marriages have crumbled and burned because of people from the outside bringing division. Sometimes it’s an obvious agenda and other times it is more subtle. Just remember that God said nothing should come between a man and wife. Nothing. No one. Nada. You may need to make some tough choices to purge your home and marriage of division and division-makers.

3. Be a Team.

Sounds easy enough, right? Just like with anything else, it’s easy until it’s not so easy anymore. Why is being a team important? When you are a team, you forfeit personal preferences and desires for the victory of the team as a whole. It’s no longer about what I want, but what we want. We are willing to compromise, to work together, to communicate freely and to give in for the good of the family. A team is united. Strong. Dedicated. A team member does not betray another member or defame his character, but rather lifts him up in encouragement and edification. Cheer for one another! Fight for one another! Stand with one another! That’s a team that will not be divided.

Your marriage is important. It is the most important ministry of your life. It is absolutely vital that you beware devices of division. Get rid of division. Make those hard choices. Be your husband’s best friend and teammate. Communicate freely and do not let the sun go down upon your anger. God will bless the home that stands united on the Rock, that is Jesus Christ. He will keep your home standing while others around you are blown away by the storms of life and the attacks of the devil. May the Lord who created marriage keep you united as one for as long as you both shall live.

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Is My Daughter Too Kind? Sweet? Friendly?

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(photo: Tabitha with her sweet friends Scarlet and Eden)

It happened at the play area in McDonalds today (I hate McDonalds but my little one loves the play area). It was busy and there were lots of kids running about and climbing through the colorful mishmash of fun. I could see my daughter interacting with other kids and hear her sweet words saying, “Hi. My name is Tabitha. Want to play with me?” This isn’t odd for her. She is usually outgoing and quick to make friends. She rarely needs encouragement to introduce herself.

As I watched and listened, taking sips from my diet coke (yes, I know it’s bad), I witnessed an encounter that just breaks a mother’s heart. My daughter was attempting to play with an older kid and his sister. She said to them, “you are my new friends.” The insensitive older boy replied, “we’re not your friends.” Taking his sister’s hand, he led her away to play elsewhere.

Ugh. My heart sank for my sweet girl. In her eagerness to reach out and make a friend, she had been shot down. I hurt for her, knowing her feelings had been hurt. I wanted to sweep her up in my arms and give dirty looks to that rude kid, but I knew that these kinds of things are just a part of life, and particularly of a Christian’s life. You see, she made herself very vulnerable. She put herself out there. She was kind and friendly. She was welcoming and warm. In return, she was slighted. It happens. As a Christian, I understand that on a deeper level and am willing to let her experience it so that she too may be an effective follower of Jesus some day.

We are supposed to be vulnerable. We are called to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute, reach out to the lost and angry, and minister to whomever God puts in front of us. We are supposed to love the unlovely. We are called to show grace and mercy, and we are supposed to love freely as Jesus did. He’s our example. He loved. His love and kindness made Him stand out. People were drawn to His kindness and love, and when we walk like Jesus, they will be drawn to Him by seeing His love in us.

What my daughter experienced today made me so sad for her. As we got into the car, I explained to her that some people were not ready to be kind to others or make new friends. I tried to explain in the simplest terms that it was wonderful for her to be kind and to offer friendship to others and that his rejection was only because he didn’t know how to be kind or even that he should. I assured her that she was a great friend and that anyone would be blessed to have her as a friend, but that sometimes people reject our friendship because they have their own problems and they take it out on us.

Maybe it was a little deep, but I wanted to use it as a teaching experience. As I pondered the event, I started to wonder if perhaps I was wrong to raise Tabitha to be friendly and warm. Maybe I had taught her to be too friendly? Too kind? Too open-armed? Perhaps I should toughen her up, like the rest of the world? After all, she is so vulnerable when she puts herself out there. She opens up her heart to hurt and rejection. She leaves herself wide open to disappointment. The world is creating kids who are tough as nails, what with all of the divorce, violence, drugs, etc. Maybe I should teach Tabitha not to make new friends and to make people earn her love rather than giving it freely? Maybe I should encourage her to be cold, critical and selective?

No. I won’t.

This world has too many cold people already. The world has too many tough and scarred kids. The world is overflowing with kids who are rude, disrespectful, mean, arrogant, insensitive and unloving. We need no more conceit, cruelty or rejection. Enough!

What we need in this world is for children (and adults for that matter) to walk like Jesus. Speak like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Be wiling to suffer the consequences like Jesus. Jesus loved and was despised. He was warm and welcoming, and He was rejected. He gave of Himself and they mocked Him. He offered Himself as a sacrifice and still people refuse to accept His gift of salvation. Our Savior showed us all how we are supposed to live, and yet we are often too afraid of rejection, persecution and disappointment to make ourselves vulnerable to love those He puts in our path without reservation.

I guess that’s what I love most about Jesus. He never hesitated to accept and love the people He encountered. My daughter reminded me today of what that can look like for us. She offered friendship and was rejected. Her beautiful heart felt that pain, and I wanted to take it away. I really did. Yet I know that my daughter, in offering love so freely, is far more like Jesus than I am. What a lesson in love. May we all be more vulnerable and continue loving people, whether or not they accept us, because some will. Some will be moved by our love, warmth and acceptance and will fall in love with Jesus as they see Him in us.

My daughter will experience more pain in her life, but I feel confident that the Lord is going to use her mightily. So I will comfort her, learn from her about offering simple love and pray that the Lord never changes that beautiful part of her heart.

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